Earlier this year, many major airlines increased capacity to and from the 1,500-acre MHT causing a 25 percent increase in activity and a need for an airport expansion. The City of Manchester, New Hampshire, put the work out to bid and R.S. Audley, Inc., took the job.
“There was a need for this project to expand the airport to be able to handle larger volumes of air traffic and cargo capabilities,” said Brian Smith, who is the Director of Safety and Loss Prevention at R.S. Audley. “Our work here impacts approximately 33 acres.”
Located just south of Concord, New Hampshire, R.S. Audley, Inc., is a general contractor with a focus on roads, bridges, utilities, large site work, and unique structural projects throughout northern New England.
According to Project Superintendent Jared Caverly, there are currently two projects in the works at MHT. The Cargo Facility project involves the site work for a new 64,000-square-foot cargo building attached to the airport through a new aircraft apron dedicated to the building.
The second project, Green Drive Cargo Facility Apron and Access Road, involves the completion of the cargo buildings apron and an access road to the new cargo facility.
“The two projects overlap and share a large amount of construction area,” Caverly said. “We recently finished a runway incursion mitigation project we referred to as ‘H’ and ‘K’ as well. This included the reconfiguration of taxiway H to taxiway K and splitting taxiway K into two stubs, K1 and K2. All three projects presented unique challenges and tight deadlines.”
“During the shutdowns we removed 45,000 square yards of asphalt over a foot thick with multiple excavators including two Caterpillar 349FLs,” Caverly said. “We used between eight to 12 tri-axle dump trucks and two Caterpillar 735 Articulated Dump Trucks throughout the job to move 50,000 cubic yards of excavation out and 36,000 yards of select materials – including sand and crushed aggregates – in.”
One of the biggest challenges Audley and Moulison Electrical faced were the electrical systems and lighting requirements for both the taxiways and runway guard lights.
“The location and placement of the lights are extremely important,” Caverly said. “After the installation process, the locations are stored in our Trimble GPS systems and then laid out again once the wearing course of pavement is put down. The electrical “cans” are then cored out and risers and lights are added to match finish elevation. Over 220 new lights were installed. The new configuration for taxiway K required around 19,000 tons of asphalt. All the hard work and long hours put in by our dedicated employees had this project finished in under three months.”
“The Cargo Building job included preparing for the foundation along with 1,200 feet of perimeter drainage,” Caverly said. “We installed an 8-inch water main to handle both the domestic and fire protection system. New sewer and drainage were installed as well. The drainage system will handle the roof drains of the building as well as the parking lot.”
Smith pointed out that when it came to the ground water, the water table at the airport was very shallow. The crew used 2-inch and 3-inch electric pumps, 3-inch trash pumps and 4-inch diesel trailer pumps.
During the project, blasting was not necessary as the terrain was made up of all sand.
The crew has been recycling loam, sand, and gravel to other parts of the job site and what can’t be used there is transported to other Audley jobs.
While both jobs have been affected by the current supply chain delays, Green Drive has provided multiple challenges.
“Longer lead times on special order items, specifically steel castings, steel reinforcement bars, plastic pipe and fittings and ductile iron pipe have kept our project managers and superintendents very active,” Caverly said. “The tight deadlines and impactful shutdowns allow for little error in both scheduling and execution.
“Daily communication between our project managers, superintendents and foreman are critical to achieving these goals. Open communication and flexible scheduling with our subcontractors are also a key factor. We are constantly looking ahead to make sure everyone has what they need to complete the next part of the project. In this fast-paced environment you must be proactive not reactive.”
Excavation included more than 100,000 cubic yards of materials, the deepest being an 18-foot deep excavation for a sewer pump house. The main excavators used for the project included two Caterpillar 349s, one Caterpillar 336 and four Caterpillar 335s.
“We also utilized our two Caterpillar 735 Articulated Haul Trucks,” Smith said.
Other Caterpillar equipment used includes two 14M motor graders, one D6T dozer, one D6K dozer, one D6K LGP dozer, one 980K wheel loader, one CAT 966K wheel loader and three rollers. R.S. Audley also owns equipment from other manufactures including Mack, Peterbilt, Manitowoc, and Link-Belt.
This was not the first time that R.S Audley worked on a project at MHT.
In the fall of 2019, R.S. Audley completed a project there involving the reconfiguration of taxiways P and U along with the removal of taxiway A1. Included in the scope of work was excavation, embankment-in-place, removal of pipes and structures, drainage installation, subbase course construction, basecourse construction, HMA paving, airfield lighting and signage, utility relocations, pavement markings, pavement grooving, and construction of a 14,000-square-foot retaining wall.
The current projects are scheduled to be complete the first week of November 2022.
Badger Daylighting – Hydro excavation and daylighting
Continental Paving – Paving contractor and aggregates
Fences Unlimited, Inc. – Fencing contractor
K5 Corporation – Pavement markings
Kobo Utility Construction Corp – Electrical, conduit, and lighting
Moore Concrete Cutting – Concrete and asphalt cutting
Moulison Heavy Electrical – Electrical, conduit, and lighting
Nicom Coating Corporation – Asphalt and pavement adhesives
R.S. Audley Inc. – General contractor
S&S Concrete Floors, Inc. – Concrete slab for aircraft at Cargo Facility
Tri State Curb, Inc. – Granite curbing
Underground Testing and Services, LLC – Sewer and water line testing, and pipe video